My top priorities in the 2018 Legislative Session include addressing climate change and Colorado’s ongoing housing crisis.
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We must transition more quickly from fossil-fuel derived energy sources to renewables. We must also improve our energy infrastructure to be able to use the energy we already produce more efficiently.
I support legislation that works to advance an aggressive clean energy agenda for Colorado. This includes legislation which:
- promotes electric vehicles
- fosters incentives to increase energy efficiency and
renewable energy use
- requires greater disclosure at the Public Utilities Commission
- allows 3rd parties greater ability to intervene at the PUC
- promotes policies to make it easier to develop solar gardens
- promotes solar thermal technologies
- boosts protections for mineral owners when they get force pooled
Colorado must continue to move strongly toward a clean future. Global climate change is real and human-caused, and we are already feeling its effects.
We must support more sustainable energy practices and make oil and gas practices safer. This includes:
- addressing air and water quality impacts associated with
oil and gas operations
- boosting safety and reporting requirements to ensure accidents like Firestone don’t happen again
- putting the power back into communities to allow them to dictate how they want their land used and developed
- protecting public lands to secure them for generations to come
- giving local governments broader authority to regulate land use
The average house sale price in Boulder surpassed $1 million dollars in 2017. Similar patterns are being seen in cities across the entire state, and more luxury home developments are popping up despite pleas for affordable housing projects. It is unsurprising that this phenomenon is pushing certain demographics–teachers, young people, workers–out of the cities they have lived in for years.
The lack of housing diversity is robbing Colorado of its diversity among individuals. As the state’s population grows, the housing market only becomes further exacerbated. I want to make Colorado’s beauty and opportunities available to all.
This session, I am running a bill to increase money available for affordable housing projects. We will direct this money towards the Division of Housing in the Dept. of Local Affairs to be used for projects, grants and assistance programs designed to expand the supply of affordable housing across the state.
Another bill I’m working on is expanding on a tax credit to non-profit housing developers that already exists for for-profit housing authorities. My hope is that this bill will help expand the planning and development of affordable housing projects across the state.
SENATE BILL 17-267
During the 2017 Legislative Session, I sponsored a bipartisan bill intended to protect against more than half a billion dollars in cuts to hospitals across the state. A drafting error in one of the provisions to change the collection of revenues on retail marijuana inadvertently prevented some special districts from collecting these revenues.
Following testimony from the CEO of RTD in October of 2017–which affirmed that revenue-loss may cause RTD fare increases affecting 4,000 to 5,000 RTD riders per day–the House Finance Committee voted on a bill to correct the error, HB17B-100. It passed 8-4 in the House, but unfortunately did not pass in the Republican-controlled Senate.
The failure of Senate Republicans to pass a bill that will help many of their own constituents who rely on public transportation demonstrates their willingness to choose partisan politics over the good of Coloradans.
Moving forward, I am co-sponsoring a bill with Senator Bob Gardner to re-introduce an attempt to correct the error in SB17-267. It is working its way through the chambers already; click the link above to stay updated on its progress.
I intend to hold our representatives, including myself, accountable to their people in this 2018 Legislative Session. I vow to never hold party over my duty to my constituents, and I will do my best to ensure that my colleagues do the same.
There is a lot of talk in the press about the significant unfunded liability that PERA currently has. I am working with stakeholders, gathering information, doing my own research and talking with constituents about how best to approach potential solutions to securitize PERA.
As proposed solutions are coming out, I plan to do my best to keep the burden of correcting PERA’s financial course off of the backs of retirees and PERA members as much as possible. I understand the responsibility that we have as a state to all of our retirees and acknowledge that many of you rely on a fixed income to live. I really encourage you to write me about your thoughts on any of the proposed solutions.
ELECTION FINANCE BILLS
The influence that money has in politics is undeniable, especially when campaigns are “bought” by deep-pocketed super PACs and corporations. Unregulated campaign financing warps the free and fair democratic political process.
I’m sponsoring two measures in the Colorado legislature to combat this situation. One bill, which the House approved unanimously last week and is headed to the Senate, puts school board elections on the same campaign finance disclosure schedule as other Colorado elections.
Another bill requires disclosure of contributions of ads touting political parties. Currently, the ads fall through the cracks of reporting requirements because they may not mention a particular candidate.
I support efforts to increase funding for mental health screenings and treatment capacity, as well as efforts to reduce substance abuse.
I support women’s reproductive rights and am working to make sure women have access to affordable healthcare and continue to have the ability to make decisions regarding their own bodies. Now more than ever we must protect women’s reproductive rights and must work to get healthcare to every citizen in Colorado.
Today’s wildfire issues across the country can be traced to decades of fire suppression. As more people move into the wildland-urban interface, the opportunity for catastrophic events increases.
I believe that fire issues should be dealt with as part of an overall strategy to manage forests with forest health as the overarching goal. We must protect water sources in our forests, prepare for fires, and support forest restoration and wildfire mitigation, including prescribed burns.
During the 2017 Legislative Session, I served as the Chair of the Wildfire Matters Review Committee to study wildfire prevention and mitigation. As a committee we recommended that state and federal agencies support the continued use of biochar from Colorado forest biomass products, that Congress fund the costs for catastrophic wildfire response outside the normal budgets for federal forest management agencies, and that mortgages be reversed for homes that are rendered uninhabitable by a natural disaster.